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E. coli Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on E. coli News & Outbreaks

Whatcom County Milk Makers Fest E. coli Outbreak Hits 45 – 8 Hospitalized

The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of shiga toxin – producing E. coli O157 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21 – 4/23/15. Over a thousand primary school children from all of the school districts in Whatcom County attended the event. Most of the cases involve children who attended the event. Several older children involved with the event and some adults and close contacts of cases have also become ill. WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock. Washington State Department of Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology is
assisting with the outbreak investigation.

Cumulative total: 22 cases* (7 cases have been hospitalized), 20 probable cases ** Change since last report of 5/2/15: no new cases, +1 probable cases, no new hospitalizations *Cases include those with positive labs (preliminary presumptive positive O157 and final confirmed positives), and clinical cases with close contact with a case with positive or presumptive positive labs. ** Probable cases are cases with clinical symptoms and were associated with the event, but lab results are not available or labs were not done.

E. coli Hits 41 at Whatcom Milk Makers Fest

E-COLI-300x200The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21 –4/23/15.

Over a thousand primary school children from all of the school districts in Whatcom County attended the event. Most of the cases involve children who attended the event. Several older children involved with the event and some adults and close contacts of cases have also become ill.

WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock.

Washington State Department of Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology is assisting with the outbreak investigation.

Cumulative total: 22 cases* (7 cases have been hospitalized), 19 probable cases **

*Cases include those with positive labs (preliminary presumptive positive O157 and final confirmed positives), and clinical cases with close contact with a case with positive or presumptive positive labs. ** Probable cases are cases with clinical symptoms and were associated with the event, but lab results are not available or labs were not done.

Whatcom County E. coli Outbreak Grows

ecoli-bacteria-300x208The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of shiga toxin – producing E. coli O157 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21 –4/23/15.

WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock.

Washington State Department of Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology is assisting with the outbreak investigation. Cumulative total: 18 cases* (5 cases have been hospitalized), 18 probable cases ** Change since last report 4/30/15: +1 case, +3 probable cases, 1 new hospitalization.

*Cases include those with positive labs (preliminary presumptive positive O157 and final confirmed positives), and clinical cases with close contact with a case with positive or presumptive positive labs.

** Probable cases are cases with clinical symptoms and were associated with the event, but lab results are not available or labs were not done.

Clarification from previous reports: the state public health lab is testing confirmed E. coli O157 isolates for serogroup (to determine if O157:H7 or another related serogroup).

Preliminary positive O157 isolates are regrown and have further testing done at a commercial lab to confirm O157. We expect to get the first results of serogroup testing from the state public health lab early next week.

Another E. coli Outbreak in Washington

According to the Bellingham Herald – of the 32 cases traced to the festival:

  • 17 have been confirmed by the state’s public health lab or tested positive at local labs — or were people with E. coli symptoms who had been in close contact with someone in the first two groups.
  • 15 additional people had been at the festival and were sick but lab results, some of which were pending, weren’t available yet.
  • 4 have been hospitalized.

We have been retained by several of the families, including one child who has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) continues to investigate an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden Washington on 4/21 – 4/23/15. WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock.

It is certainly not like we have not seen this before:

For more information on the risks of zoonotic exposures, see Fair Safety Dot Com.

E. coli Linked to Hamburger

Skyline Provisions, Inc., a Harvey, Ill., establishment, is recalling 1,029 pounds of beef products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Produced between April 15-25, 2015, the following products are subject to recall:

17 ½ boxes of Aurora Packers Intact Beef Round Flats

On April 15, 2015, Skyline sold the product under their D&S label (Establishment number: 19300), ground and tested one and a half cases of the product. On April 21, 2015, these products were found positive for E. coli O157:H7. The remaining intact, products were sold to Jack & Pat’s Old Fashioned Market in Chicago Ridge, Ill., where the product was ground and sold in various amounts of ground chuck patties, ground chuck, ground round, sirloin patties and porter house patties.

FSIS discovered the problem during a routine sampling program. Neither FSIS nor the company received any reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may have been sold and stored in consumers’ freezers.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

As Many as 18 with E. coli Linked to Silliman School in Louisiana

Food Safety News reported yesterday that Louisiana’s Silliman Institute students may well be part of an E. coli outbreak. Silliman sent students home last Friday, March 27, resumed classes Monday, March 30, and then called it quits until Monday, April 6.

“There is an outbreak of STEC (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli) in a school in Region 2 and it is being investigated,” Ashley Lewis, spokeswoman for Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, told Food Safety News.

“As the investigation progresses, the Department continues to take all necessary preventive measures to protect public health,” Lewis noted, adding, “Louisiana law prohibits the disclosure of the content of epidemiological investigations except to the institutions concerned. The Department would also clarify that any decisions related to facility closure have been made by the facilities themselves.”

The first child sickened in the Louisiana outbreak, a girl, was reportedly hospitalized with the kidney disease known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or HUS. The second child, also hospitalized but without HUS, was not being held in a pediatric intensive care unit and was likely going to avoid kidney dialysis.

Today the Department of Health and Hospitals told WBRZ as many as 18 students are exhibiting symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. The department is testing the cases for E. coli or norovirus. At least one case has been tentatively identified as E. coli. Symptoms began Sunday and have hospitalized some of the ill students. The state is investigating what made them sick, but said it does not appear to be in the water or in the food at school.

E. coli with Beef Cheeks Recalled

A Chicago wholesale meat company is recalling nearly 170,000 pounds of meat products that may be contaminated with bacteria that can cause illness.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced the recall Thursday of meat that may be tainted with a dangerous type of E. coli bacteria. The recall affects beef cheek products distributed to stores and restaurants in Chicago by El Cubano Wholesale Meats.

The products are labeled “For Cooking Only” and bear the establishment number “EST. 4653a” inside an inspection mark. They also are labeled “Iowa Best Beef.”

The problem was discovered by Department of Agriculture inspectors. The agency believes some product may be in freezers in restaurants and retail stores.

E. coli Recall for Juici Patties

Juici Patties in Canada is recalling Juici Patties brand Jamaican Style unbaked Chicken Patty from the marketplace due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

Consumers should not consume the recalled product:

The recalled item is Juici Patties Unbaked Jamaican Style Patty, Chicken, in 1.6 kilogram packages, 12 per pack. The code on the product is 3184 and the UPC number is 6 24819 30012 2. The affected product was distributed in Alberta.

Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis.

Washington Beef Recalls 1,620 Pounds of Trim Over E. coli Concerns

Washington Beef, LLC, a Toppenish, Wash., establishment, is recalling 1,620 pounds of boneless  beef trim product that may be contaminated with  E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following boneless beef product produced on Nov. 28, 2012, is subject to recall:

60 lb. bulk packs of “TRIM 65/35 (FZN)”

The product subject to recall bears the establishment number “EST. 235” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The problem was discovered during an internal records audit by the company, which notified FSIS. Product was shipped for further processing to a single grinding facility, then on for use in hotels, restaurants and institutions in Oregon and Washington.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

1 Child Dead, 4 Sickened After Consuming Raw “Bath Milk” in Australia

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Rosemary Lester has issued a warning about the dangers of drinking raw cow’s milk.

Her warning has been prompted by five cases of gastroenteritis illness in children who had drunk unpasteurised milk.

“There have been three cases of Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) and two cases of cryptosporidiosis.

“HUS is a rare but serious condition caused by bacteria that affects the kidneys and the bloodstream. Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection that commonly presents as gastroenteritis with watery diarrhoea.

“Only a small number of these pathogens are needed to cause illness. The sale of unpasteurised milk for human consumption is illegal in Victoria,” Dr Lester said.

“However all five cases drank unpasteurised milk which was sold as ‘bath’ or ‘cosmetic’ milk.

“Unpasteurised milk is labelled and sold for cosmetic use only, but the packaging is often very similar to other milk products.

“Unpasteurised milk increases the risk of contracting gastrointestinal illness because it can contain pathogens such as Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes.

“Since the 1940s it has been compulsory to pasteurise cow’s milk in Australia. Milk is heated for a very short period of time effectively destroying any disease-causing bacteria which may be present in raw milk.

“Everyone is vulnerable to illness caused by the pathogens present in raw milk, but the risks are even greater for young children and for the elderly, those with underlying health problems, immunocompromised or pregnant,” Dr Lester said.

No matter what precautions are taken by dairy farmers during milking, there can be no guarantee that the milk will be free from harmful bacteria, making pasteurisation essential.